copyright course materials

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  • I just wanted to double check on this for a co-worker. He is making original handouts, outlines, etc. for workshop's he's doing. These types of materials are automatically copyrighted like any other original work, correct? Is there a particular note or disclaimer he should put on the materials? Its his original work but it is for hire as well.

    Thanks in advance for any input.
  • You are correct that your co-workers work is protected automatically as soon as it is fixed, assuming it has the necessary modicum of creativity. The copyright is owned, immediately, either by your co-worker or by the institutional employer, if it is work for hire.

    There is no "notice" required to preserve protection anymore -- no need to add the C in a circle with date and name. Since it is likely unclear just who the author/owner is here, that is just as well. He maight put on his materials something to the effect of "This work was created by John Jones, as Instructional Librarian at the University of West Eastvale," but it is not necessary.

    Ultimately, I hope your institution and its employees can agree on a policy for these works, whether work for hire or owned by the individual creator, that will allow you to share them under a Creative Commons license. You must clearly own the rights in order to employ a CC license, but it is a great way to share work, especially in academia, under conditions that better reflect the values of scholarship than our copyright law alone does.
  • Sorry, I should have clarified. Although they're educational, the workshops are done profit. The person who is giving them is making some money from them as well as making some money for the college we work for, they have an agreement about this.

    Since he is making some profit for himself and some for the institution, is there something different he should do to cover his claim to the materials?

    Thanks for your help!
  • That does not change the situation regarding protection. Copyright is still automatic and no notice is required. Notice that asserts copyright might be a good idea in order to avoid unwelcome competition, and I presume the agreement addresses the issue of which entity will assert a copyright claim. Registration of the copyright also is not required, but is probably a good idea.

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